Pixel Scroll 9/2/17 Keep Your Eye On The Donut, Not On The Scroll

(1) WHAT SFF WILL PEOPLE BUY? Cat Eldridge asks Filers to take another look at the post “Help Pick What SFF Goes On This Bookstore’s Shelves” and add any more suggestions you may have. Cat will be forwarding the information to Longfellow’s on Friday.

(2) BESIEGED. 71 minutes from server setup to first attack: “Catching the hackers in the act”

Cyber-criminals start attacking servers newly set up online about an hour after they are switched on, suggests research.

The servers were part of an experiment the BBC asked a security company to carry out to judge the scale and calibre of cyber-attacks that firms face every day.

About 71 minutes after the servers were set up online they were visited by automated attack tools that scanned them for weaknesses they could exploit, found security firm Cyber Reason.

Once the machines had been found by the bots, they were subjected to a “constant” assault by the attack tools….

(3) NO TRUER TRUTH. Buzzfeed reveals how things would look “If Harry Potter Was Written From Hermione’s Perspective”:

The #BossWitch returns to show us what really happened over those seven years.

 

(4) WOTF. Lots of stories about panels in the Daily Dragon. Here’s one about some leading figures in sff: “Writers of the Future Judges Encourage Writers”.

On Saturday afternoon, a panel of judges for L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future contest (WotF) encouraged Dragon Con fans to enter the renowned contest. Moderated by Canadian science fiction author Robert J. Sawyer, the panel included five additional award-winning and best-selling authors also serving as WotF contest judges: Mike Resnick, Todd McCaffrey, Jerry Pournelle, Larry Niven, and Jody Lynn Nye.

(5) LANG BELTA CHEATSHEET. Hannah Paine has made available the Expanse Belter Language handout from Worldcon 75 – follow the link to the PDF file.

(6) SIGHTSEER. Worldcon 75 photos from Mur Lafferty (along with an I Should Be Writing podcast on why writers shouldn’t use adverbs) are all part of “Back to Basics” at The Murverse Annex. My favorite photo:

Me, Ursula Vernon, and Kameron Hurley, and we are SO READY TO LOSE THAT HUGO. (Ursula failed at losing.)

(7) STAR WRECK. It’s coming. The question is, will these two stars get along more like Martin & Lewis, or Penn & Teller? “In 1.3 Million Years, the Solar System Will Briefly Contain Two Stars” at Motherboard.

The Sun is used to having plenty of personal space, given that its nearest stellar neighbor, the Alpha Centauri system, is located about four light years away. While that’s not very distant in cosmic terms, it’s wide enough for our solar system to not be influenced by these alien stars.

But in about 1.3 million years, a star named Gliese 710, which is about 60 percent as massive as the Sun, is projected to interrupt the Sun’s hermitude by crashing right on through the far-flung reaches of the solar system. While astronomers have been aware of this stellar meetup for years, new observations from the European Space Agency’s Gaia satellite, released on Thursday, have constrained the trajectory of Gliese 710’s impending visit, and charted out nearly 100 other upcoming close encounters with wandering stars.

(8) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • September 2, 1973 – J.R.R. Tolkien dies.

(9) COMICS SECTION. Pearls Before Swine writes an unusual prescription.

(10) EYE ON THE HOLE. Christopher Nuttall, in “Guest Editorial: A Character Who Happens to be Black” at Amazing Stories, is a believer in argumentum ad ignorantiam.

But are the Sad Puppies truly racist?

There is no way to gauge what is in a person’s heart. Obviously not. Nor is it possible to avoid the fact that the word ‘racist’ has been redefined and abused so often that it is now effectively meaningless. A person who objects to the colour of a man’s skin is a racist (and a bloody idiot); a person who objects to a man’s conduct is not. I do not consider it racist to question cultural aspects that clash with my own, nor do I consider it racist to insist that such aspects be stopped if they have no place in a civilised society.

I have no concrete proof to offer that the Sad Puppies are not racists. But I do have a piece of evidence that should be taken into account.

It is hard to be sure, for obvious reasons, but I think a number of the readers who read ‘Sad Puppy’ authors also read my books. Amazon does have a habit of recommending my books to people who browse their pages, after all, so it’s fairly safe to say there’s some overlap. I can’t say how big the overlap is, of course, but it is there.

In the past year, I started two trilogies starring women of colour. The Vanguard trilogy (Vanguard, Fear God and Dread Naught, We Lead) featured Commander (later Captain) Susan Onarina, a mixed-race woman (half-British, half-Jamaican) from London. And The Zero Blessing starred Caitlyn Aguirre, a young black girl who grew up in a fantasy world.

And how many complaints do you think I got?

None.

(11) BIONIC BOSS. The Washington Post’s Hank Steuver remembers Richard Anderson for his role as Oscar Goldman in The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman as an old-school man who represented the best of the 1970s: “Here’s to Oscar Goldman, Generation X’s first real boss”.

But it was his role as Oscar Goldman — the hard-driven division director at the fictional OSI (Office of Scientific Intelligence) on the hit show “The Six Million Dollar Man” and its superior spinoff, “The Bionic Woman” — that, whether he liked it or not, stuck for life. Oscar Goldman would forever remain a treasured role model for impressionable children of the mid-1970s.

Oscar was, in a way, our first boss. Stern and demanding yet also empathetic, coolheaded and no-nonsense: No team-building exercises. No semiannual evaluations.

When things go wrong for you on a mission in the jungle, or while hunting for Bigfoot, or as you are battling Fembots for control of the planet’s weather, it’s Oscar Goldman who worries most about you. It is Oscar, co-starring in both shows, who places calls up the chain of command, desperate to save your life, reestablishing radio contact and arriving by helicopter just as everything has exploded, ready to grab you by the non-bionic arm, lift you aboard and commence with the attaboys (or attagirls, in the case of Jaime Sommers). Memo to staff: Oscar cares.

(12) FAST-FOOD AVENGERS. Love this picture.

(13) SHORT SFF. Bridget McKinney delves into “Recent Reads: Summer Magazines and Short Fiction” at SF Bluestocking.

FIYAH Literary Magazine, Issue 3: Sundown Towns

FIYAH continues to do exactly what it promised when the project was announced, delivering a solid collection of black speculative fiction in a gorgeously packaged quarterly publication. In fact, though it may just be the bright, warm colors on this one, but I think Geneva Benton has delivered the best cover art to date on this issue. I was hoping for a vampire story, which the issue did not deliver, but Sundown Towns nonetheless offers a great selection of takes on its theme. If you only have time for one story from the issue, though, be sure to make it Danny Lore’s “The Last Exorcist.” “Toward the Sun” by Sydnee Thompson and “Cracks” by Xen are also excellent, but “The Last Exorcist” is the story I continue to find myself thinking about weeks later. Also, I don’t know of another publication that’s sharing issue playlists with each issue, and if there is I know it can’t be as good as the ones from FIYAH. Check this out.

(14) QUESTION BEGGARS. He’s certainly on to something here —

(15) SIRIUS BUSINESS: Jason, over at Featured Futures, has been working like a dog to find the star stories in this month’s SF firmament and has catalogued them in his “Summation of Online Fiction: August 2017”.

The last of the dog days caused Clarkesworld‘s recent hot streak of good issues in June and July (rivaling the January issue) to come to an end (apparently because August doesn’t begin with a “J”). Tor.com compensated by going on a torrid streak of their own. Nature was also perhaps above average and, while Apex didn’t produce anything particularly noteworthy, the whole issue, guest edited by Amy H. Sturgis, was better than usual. All in all, this month’s forty-six stories (of which I read 44 of 218K words) produced plenty of decent reading. What follows are links to the stories I thought were the best and to the notes posted throughout the month which explain why I thought that.

(16) LET GO MY LEGO. “Stealing people’s plastic” is usually jargon for credit card thefts. Not in this case: “Michigan man: Someone stole $7,000 Lego collection”.

A Michigan man reached out to authorities to help track down his valuable Lego collection after it was stolen in a home robbery.

Brian Richards wrote a blog post claiming someone invaded his family’s home some time after midnight on Aug. 28 and stole his extensive Lego collection, containing dozens of completed sets, from his basement.

“Someone came into my home. While we were sleeping. And removed nothing except thousands of dollars of LEGO. Small, rattly pieces of plastic,” he wrote. “Either with a crew that should be large enough to be noticed, or with many trips up and down the stairs.”

Richards said his family was home all day and the house remained locked from the time he went to sleep until he awoke the next morning.

He also added the thieves ignored his expensive electronics, camera equipment and tools while solely targeting his Lego collection.

(17) CONSPICUOUS CATSUMPTION. A fine suggestion, but you’re cat’s going to wonder why you didn’t think of it six years ago: “Show your feline the respect it deserves with a ‘Game of Thrones’ cat bed”.

Made for Pets make “pet furniture” for your favorite feline (or even canine) to snuggle-up in. Among the many designs on offer is this “Iron Throne” cat bed as inspired by the hit book and TV series Game of Thrones. It’s a bit pricey at around $200 (£158.64) but if you love your cat and you know it’s really the protector of the realm, the top feline of all the Seven Kingdoms, etc. etc. etc. then you know damn fine your kitty deserves its very own Iron Throne. See details here.

(18) A WAR FOR TOYS. There was too much cuteness in the universe. Something had to be done. “‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ pits BB-8 against its dark side, BB-9E”.

The breakout droid star from “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is in for quite an adventure in the upcoming sequel, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” That is, if a new toy from robotics company Sphero is any indication.

Sphero showed off on Thursday a first look at BB-9E — BB-8’s evil twin. In stark contrast to BB-8’s cheery white and orange exterior, BB-9E’s body is a menacing black and gray.

The company worked with Disney, owner of the “Star Wars” franchise, to develop a mini toy version that realistically brings the movie character to life. The film is set to debut on December 15.

(19) THE REBELLION IS TRENDING. Lots of people looking at the Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Trailer. You could be next!

(20) THE LIGHTS IN THE SKY ARE ROCKS. Yah missed! “Florence: Largest asteroid in century to safely fly by Earth”.

“Florence is the largest asteroid to pass by our planet this close since the [American space agency] Nasa program to detect and track near-Earth asteroids began,” Paul Chodas, manager of Nasa’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies, said in a statement.

The 2017 encounter is the closest by this asteroid since 1890 and the closest it will ever be until after 2500, the US space agency added.

(21) LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAP. BBC asks: “Would you take a ride in a pilotless sky taxi?”

Dubai is racing to be the first to put drone taxis in the air.

In June, its Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) signed an agreement with a German start-up Volocopter to test pilotless air taxis towards the end of this year.

The firm has received 25m euros (£22m; $30m) from investors, including German motor manufacturer Daimler, to develop the 18-rotor craft capable of transporting two passengers at a time.

The promotional video claims a top speed of 100km/h (60mph) and a maximum flight time of around 30 minutes, while nine independent battery systems ensure safety.

“You will never require” the onboard emergency parachute, Volocopter assures us.

(22) SQUEEZED OUT OF THE MARKET. Good story here of marketing hubris… The Verge reports “Juicero, maker of the doomed $400 internet-connected juicer, is shutting down”.

So it’s time to say goodbye to Juicero, although we only knew its product for 16 months. The founder of Organic Avenue (a now-bankrupt restaurant chain), Doug Evans, introduced the device in March 2016. At the time, we scoffed at the fact that it cost $699 and required proprietary juice packs. Then in April 2017, Bloomberg published a piece that likely doomed the company to fail. Reporters found that the company’s packs of fruits and vegetables didn’t require the actual Juicero machine, but were instead squeezeable by hand. Basically, the pricey machine was completely useless, which wasn’t a great look for the company.

(23) REALIVE TRAILER. Here’s another movie that could have been titled Passengers.

Marc (Tom Hughes) is diagnosed with a disease and is given one year left to live. Unable to accept his own end, he decides to freeze his body. Sixty years later, in the year 2084, he becomes the first man to be revived in history. It is then he discovers that the love of his life, Naomi (Oona Chaplin), has accompanied him this entire time in a way that he’d never expected.

 

[Thanks to JJ, Carl Slaughter, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor rcade.]

55 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 9/2/17 Keep Your Eye On The Donut, Not On The Scroll

  1. 21) I’m nervous enough about driverless cars… even though here in 8558 that’s all that exists.

  2. (10) Chrisopher Nuttall: One of the charges leveled at the Sad Puppies is that they are against ‘diverse’ characters in books (and comics, movies, TV shows, etc.) The people who level these charges are, essentially, accusing the Sad Puppies of racism, that the only reason they could possibly have for objecting to these characters is their race (or gender, or sexuality, or whatever.) It is a fairly obvious rhetorical trap. By asserting that racism is the only reason to object to these characters, they brand the Sad Puppies as racists.

    This does nothing for the state of discourse in science-fiction and fantasy. The people who level these charges seem to believe that the mere act of levelling these charges grants them credence. They do not have to prove the Sad Puppies are guilty; the Sad Puppies have to prove their innocence.

    I’m going to be really generous here, and presume that Nuttall is just utterly uninformed and clueless, rather than deliberately disingenuous. But “uninformed and clueless” is not still giving me a good opinion of him.

    The people who levelled the charges of racism, sexism, and homophobia against Puppies have done so specifically because of the racist, sexist, and homophobic things they said — including repeated claims that POC, women, and LGBTQ authors who were nominated for, or won, awards received those honors only as Affirmative Action because of their minority status, and not because of the quality of their works.

    Deliberately dishonest, or just ignorantly so, this sort of Puppy apologism is pretty disgusting.

    Oh, and Mr. Nuttall, the reason you haven’t gotten any complaints? 1) your diverse characters weren’t written in a popular universe such as Star Wars (just ask Chuck Wendig), and 2) these people took one look at the synopses for those books and didn’t buy them. 🙄

  3. (10) You know, I never thought about it that way before, that if we got rid of racism we would lose the whole plot device about how only a few exceptional people can triumph over it. I guess we’d have nothing left to write about except cats.

    (17) My SJW credential would get all Joffrey on me … I have tormented him with immersion in a cold bathtub twice (to be fair, it’s super extraordinary hot and he’s got a ton of insulation).

    SF Comic Con was fun, I linked some of the artists on my blog, had to retreat early after the heat wave wiped me out.

  4. (5)
    It’s an interesting looking language. Or whatever it should be called.
    It’s 3145 here, and we’re hoping it cools off.

  5. 14 – I look with embarrassment at words I know have not made it through editing of things I’ve done.

    16- compared to his electronics the LEGOs have a way better resale value on secondary markets, are harder to track and can be split up way easier. You might need an ID to resale electronics at a pawn store but LEGOs are easy to sell with relative anonymity.

  6. @JJ

    Oh, and Mr. Nuttall, the reason you haven’t gotten any complaints? 1) your diverse characters weren’t written in a popular universe such as Star Wars (just ask Chuck Wendig), and 2) these people took one look at the synopses for those books and didn’t buy them. ?

    Actually, I have seen comments from the puppy camps about Nuttall’s books along the line of, “Well, he writes decent military SF, too bad he’s a lefty” [lefty meaning somwhere to the left of Attila the Hun in this case] and “Well, I like his military SF, but why did he have to cave to the SJWs and include gay characters and black characters?” So even if Nuttall claims he doesn’t get any complaints, there are complaints.

    I sort of understand that Nuttall is in an unpleasant situation here, because as a military SF author there is a big overlap between the puppies and people who buy his books. So I understand that he does not want to alienate the puppies – they are his readers, after all. However, Marko Kloos managed this balancing act much better than Nuttall (and I’m not a fan of Kloos at all).

  7. Matt Y: 16 – compared to his electronics the LEGOs have a way better resale value on secondary markets, are harder to track and can be split up way easier. You might need an ID to resale electronics at a pawn store but LEGOs are easy to sell with relative anonymity.

    I hadn’t thought about that aspect, but you’re absolutely right. It would be a cinch to sell an $800 Millenium Falcon, sans box, for $600 on eBay.

  8. Cora: even if Nuttall claims he doesn’t get any complaints, there are complaints.

    Ah, it’s the old Puppy “If I don’t know about it, it does not exist” trick.

  9. The funny thing is that I’ve seen such comments precisely about Nuttall’s work for having the gall to include gay characters or black characters. So he either never ego-googles and does not read his own reviews (hey, it’s possible) or he’s willfully blind.

  10. @JJ
    Good find. Nuttall is mainly on my radar as “one of the authors of the sort of cookie cutter indie military SF I don’t read”, so I never read his blog and never noticed that.

    I did notice that the cover of one of Nuttall’s books looked like a Nazi recruiting poster in space starring a model uncannily resembling Ivanka Trump (it was in my also-boughts), but I put that down to a really unfortunate choice of cover design.

  11. Cora: Nuttall is mainly on my radar as “one of the authors of the sort of cookie cutter indie military SF I don’t read”

    Yeah, when I looked at his credits on ISFDB and saw that he’d self-published 57 novels in 7 years, I figured that his work was the sort of extruded formulaic plot-by-numbers stuff which I would not find particularly compelling.

  12. Re: the fast food Avengers. This year marked the third straight comic featuring Colonel Sanders in the DC multiverse coming out around SDCC time. This year co-starring Green Lantern.

  13. @JJ
    To be fair, I’ve never read him, but there is a lot of extruded formulaic plot-by-numbers stuff in indie publishing land, especially in space opera and military SF, which got overrun by the write to market brigade last year.

  14. For people who made fun of algae fuel in The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, I give you http://cen.acs.org/articles/95/i35/Enzyme-harnesses-light-make-alkanes.html microalgae that make alkanes.

    Now show an article about how the algae make the fuel in interstellar space, where the algae would receive 600 million times less light? (120,000 lux at noon on Earth, 0.0002 lux from starlight on a moonless night.)

    Becky Chambers may or may not (opinions vary) be able to write a good story, but she can’t science her way out of a wet paper bag.

  15. @ JJ
    Thanks for going there, so others don’t have to.

    Why’s would Nuttall write this now? Isn’t he flogging a dead sad puppy? (No actual puppies of any emotional makeup were harmed in the making of this allusion.)

    (3) Still love this.

    (14) Yup!

  16. I call it cartoon racism but only because I don’t have a better name. ‘Straw racism’ has the same flaw because of course, there really are plenty of racists who are just as knee-jerk appallingly awful as what others are comparing themselves to.

    What we are supposed to believe is that some action, belief or statement can only be racist *IF* the person who instigated it was quintessentially racist and racist 100% of the time in everything they do with a clear and unambiguous consistency. As a consequence ANY instance of the person being or behaving in a way inconsistent with that immediately absolves them of any possibility of racism. So, for example, I’m told Vox D can’t possibly be anti-Semitic because he publishes work by people who are Jewish – this despite the repeated and consistent anti-Semitic published by Mr Day. Well, in the end, I don’t actually care whether or not Vox’s essence or his inner being or his taxonomic status really is anti-Semitic because in the end what matter is what he says and what he does is what matters.

    As for the Sads are they racist homophobes etc? I don’t know each of them or really know what is in their hearts or souls or inner thoughts. I have observed many cases where individuals associated with the Sad Puppy campaign have not acted in a way consistent with racism or misogyny or homophobia.

    BUT so what? They are complex beings just like everybody else and contain multitudes. That doesn’t mean I can’t look at that campaign and look at what the campaign attacked and what it was silent on and what lies were told and who they targeted and what their narrative was – and having looked at that (and they cannot deny that I *looked* and *read* almost every bit of it in detail) and say: “this Sad Puppy campaign was, in aggregate, misogynistic, racist and homophobic”.

    Does that mean each and every individual involved in Sad Puppies was some kind of foaming at the mouth instinctive bigot? Nope. If only the world were so simple. But think how much worse it is to support a racist campaign if, in fact, you are not a racist? What kind of self-condemnation is that?

    Nor are they so generous to apply this essentialist logic beyond themselves. Would Brad or Larry or Sarah every say: “Ah but this person is not consistently a socialist in all the things that they do, therefore they cannot be a socialist and therefore what they are arguing for cannot be socialism.” (and feel free to substitute “socialism” for some other quality/ideology) Can you imagine any of the many anti-feminists out there accept as a valid argument that I can’t be “anti-man” because I am a man?

    No. Racism has degrees. People are complex. Not every racist act is committed by some sort of stereotyped white-supremacist Aryan bigot whose head would explode before saying something positive about a black person. That isn’t a complex or difficult or even a controversial idea. If somebody is desperately trying to avoid that very simple notion then they need to ask themselves why.

  17. A fine suggestion, but you’re cat’s going to wonder

    Ahem, “your cat” perhaps?

    Breakfast appertainment on standby.

  18. 7) I saw this item on my news feed, from a site where “Gliese” had been relentlessly auto-corrected to “Gisele” throughout. Rather romantic, I thought.

  19. “Amazon does have a habit of recommending my books to people who browse their pages, after all”

    Amazon used to have the habit of recommending Baen authors whose names would kick me into moderation to Bujold readers. Didn’t mean I bought any of them.

  20. (10) On Nuttall, I’m going with “deliberately disingenuous.”

    (11) Loved Oscar Goldman.

    Here in 8455, Oscar Goldman is fondly remembered, eve n as we make our way through the rain.

  21. @Jamoche
    Amazon keeps recommending Larry Correia to me, even though the only Baen Books I buy are by Lois McMaster Bujold, Sharon Lee and Steve Miller and P.C. Hodgell.

    And I had a book by Christopher Nuttall in the “readers who bought this also bought” strips of one of my books. Amazon algorithms are weird.

  22. @JJ Thanks for finding this out about Nutall. So yeah…

    Here in 3318, we only have Robopuppies™, but we’re hopeful cloning techniques and bioengineering will bring back real dogs soon.

  23. I wasn’t dumbfounded by the algae fuel out of disbelief that algae can make organic compounds. It was the vision of a starship powered by algae growing under lights powered by the starship that made me go wtf. If the starships were powered by algae fuel that they picked up from massive solar-powered refineries, that would be another matter.

  24. (16) – My brother is an AFOL (Adult Fan of Lego); I just asked him how much his collection was worth, and he estimated $200,000 if parted out, or $50,000 in bulk. He has a lot of home security, especially around the basement where the Lego room is.

    @Nickp – Between that and the robot that powers itself through its own walking, it’s clear that Chambers has less understanding of the laws of thermodynamics than this science ignoramus.

  25. Don’t forget energy density of the fuel. Chemical fuels can barely get ships up to interplanetary speeds with huge mass ratios. Does not seem to be an issue for the magic algae.

    It was the vision of a starship powered by algae growing under lights powered by the starship that made me go wtf.

    See also the self-winding robot.

  26. Meredithing merrily along — has anyone mentioned that Steven Brust’s Phoenix Guards (first of his Khaavren romances) is currently $2.99 on Amazon? Or that C.J. Cherryh’s Fortress of Eagles (nth in her Fortress series (which series most certainly qualifies her as an epic fantasy writer, to go back to a previous discussion)) is currently $0.99 on Amazon?

  27. The other possibility that comes to my mind is that the Lego fellow’s mother was visiting, and threw out all his childish toys when he wasn’t looking.

  28. @Soon Lee

    Cats: All your scrolls are belong to us.

    This message brought to you from 8752 where self opening tuna cans mean humanities fate is sealed.

  29. Oscar Goldman was dramatically taking off his glasses decades before that CSI guy stole the gesture… (“Damn it, Steve, it’s just too dangerous for you to [do the dangerous thing that Steve Austin is about to do]”).

    P.S.

    “We can re-Scroll him. We have the Pixelology.”

  30. Bruce Arthurs on September 3, 2017 at 7:40 am said:

    The other possibility that comes to my mind is that the Lego fellow’s mother was visiting, and threw out all his childish toys when he wasn’t looking

    The pictures make it appear that it’s a hobby he shares with his family so she’d have to be in the running for worse grandma.

  31. @Lace Sky Taxies don’t need to be plot-related, they can just be part of the worldbuilding.

  32. @IanP A fine suggestion, but you’re cat’s going to wonder

    Ahem, “your cat” perhaps?

    I read this as “Your cat is going to wonder…” So “cat’s” is okay, but “you’re”… well, yeah.

  33. But the filest of all the file animals was the Cat. He scrolled by himself, and all pixels were alike to him.

  34. Legos? Legos are worth that much?

    I picked the wrong toys to play with in childhood, obviously.

    It matters little here in 1335, as no one here is interested in Legos. The Habsburgs are starting to make some noise.

  35. @Cora Buhlert: I thought the algorithm was improving, but maybe I just kept smacking down all the book recs until it gave up. That, or just not buying books from them anymore and telling it I don’t own any Bujolds.

  36. @Anthony — I’ve never used “Lego” as the plural — always “Legos”.

    (Although I’m sure the preferred nomenclature would be LEGO(tm)-brand building toys or some such.)

  37. No, no. One Lego brick, two Lego bricks. One Lego toy, two Lego toys. ‘Lego’ by itself is a mass noun, used in sentences like ‘I was playing with Lego’, so has no plural.

  38. @Anthony, Joe H, Andrew M:

    Grammatically, when referring to the toy pieces, “Legos” is proper.

    The company is LEGO and when referring to the company, “LEGO” is correct.

    The company would prefer “Lego pieces” or Lego bricks”, not out of fastidiousness over proper language, but because it protects their brand name from going the way of “xerox” and kleenex” and becoming a generic word because it’s used as a basic descriptive.

    As in, calling (fill in the blank) building blocks, “Legos”, in a general sense.

    I don’t particularly care about that, as it isn’t my job, duty or obligation to help them secure their brand name and this is a specific discussion about their product. That’s what they pay their lawyers for, among other things.

    In 5320, we don’t need no stinking brands anyway. Everyone plays with rocks at this point, as those are what we have left

  39. @Lisa Goldstein

    New I should have appertained some coffee before posting. I think my brain would have spotted that if I’d continued the sentence.

    Also, just noticed that Micheal Emerson has gotten a post Person of Interest gig as a recurring character in Arrow Season 6. that should be fun. Hope his character’s second name is a bird…

    Currently trying to get to like Supergirl but keep bouncing off. TVTropes indicates it grows the beard mid first season but not there yet.

    Now passing through 6133 where the Edinburgh council are still wrangling over the tram line extension to Leith.

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